Why we shouldn’t be pardoning or decriminalising cannabis use in NZ

By October 16, 2022 Recent News

“Progressives” are forever trying to loosen our laws and ultimately make society more liberal. They want to dismantle the foundations upon which much of western civilisation has been built upon. Moves to normalise and legalise drug use have always been part of their agenda. US President Joe Biden is now pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of cannabis possession, his first step towards decriminalising the drug altogether. Those benefiting from Biden’s pardon will receive a ‘certificate of pardon’.

Of course, this move by the US President has emboldened New Zealand’s pro-drug politicians and activists. The Green Party and NZ Drug Foundation are immediately putting pressure on our Government to do likewise. Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, a staunch advocate for legalising cannabis, is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to follow US President Joe Biden’s move.

Make no mistake, pardoning previous drug convictions is simply the first step towards legalising drug use.

All this despite New Zealand voting NO to legalising cannabis at the 2020 referendum. Following that 2020 referendum result, Curia Market Research conducted a survey asking Kiwis: “Should the government respect the result of the cannabis referendum and not legalise cannabis for recreational use, even though it was a close vote”. 66% of respondents said Yes, the government should respect the result of the referendum, vs. only 26% who said they should’t respect the result. It’s clear that any moves to loosen our drug laws go against the wishes of the New Zealand public.

So it’s great to read last week that National Party leader Christopher Luxon says he will not consider pardoning or decriminalising the possession or use of cannabis if elected. Luxon told 1news that he would not consider decriminalising the use of cannabis following the 2020 referendum result which voted NO to legalising the drug.

He said the Government should focus on other aspects of “rising crime” affecting the country, such as retail and violent crime.

Luxon said he voted against legalising cannabis in the 2020 referendum, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern voted in favour of legalising cannabis.

We applaud Christopher Luxon for making this statement and clarifying National’s position, which is to respect the result of the 2020 referendum.

Our laws set the standard for acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviours, as well as protecting individuals and society. The New Zealand public wants recreational cannabis use to remain illegal. The coercion of the law, with a sensible approach for first time use, and the availability of rehabilitation services should be the focus.

Cannabis is harmful and should not be normalised. Many studies link cannabis use to serious mental health problems, including psychotic disorders.

“Non-medical cannabis use and cannabis use disorder were consistently associated with self-reported psychotic disorders over time, while frequent and daily/near-daily use was also associated with self-reported psychotic disorders in the more recent survey. The increasing perception of cannabis as a harmless substance may deter the general public as well as health care providers from recognizing that nonmedical cannabis use may play a role in exacerbating the risk for psychotic disorders.” Source: The American Journal of Psychiatry

The UN’s 2022 World Drug Report shows increased drug use worldwide and accelerated daily use (and related health impacts) in parts of the world where cannabis has been legalised. Legalisation clearly leads to accelerated usage and associated negative health outcomes.

We are now seeing some highly alarming outcomes from legalising cannabis in US states, including “spiralling addiction, psychotic illnesses and hospitals facing a deluge of poisonings”: Cannabis legalisation sees spiralling addiction and psychotic illnesses

While in the UK, there has been a surge in psychosis after Scotland decriminalised cannabis: Surge in psychosis after cannabis decriminalisation

New Zealand made the only safe decision by voting NO to dope at the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum. Legalising recreational cannabis would have been a disaster for New Zealand.

**The post was written by Family First staff writers.